Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Stagecoach is located in Lyon County in Stagecoach Valley. The community is bordered to the north by the Flowery Range, to the east by Silver Springs, to the south by the Carson River, and the west by Dayton Valley (see Figure 14-1). Approximately 770 residences were evaluated during the assessment. The risk/hazard assessment resulted in classifying Stagecoach in the Low Hazard category (36 points). The low community hazard score is attributed primarily to adequate defensible space and fire-resistant home construction materials. The community wildfire hazard score sheet is provided at the end of this section. The specific findings for each of the wildland fire assessment parameters are reported below.
The Stagecoach community is primarily characterized by the intermix urban-interface condition, where homes have been built on larger lots and wildland fuels are often contiguous up to each residence. Lot sizes vary throughout Stagecoach with the majority of lots between one and ten acres in size, and a smaller number of lots greater than ten acres. Structure spacing varies according to lot size.
Roads: The primary access route in Stagecoach is US Highway 50, which is a paved highway greater than 24 feet wide, allowing adequate room for fire suppression equipment to maneuver. Most of the secondary roads in the community are dirt, but provide adequate turn-around space for fire suppression equipment.
Signage: Most streets in Stagecoach have standard metal street signs that are highly visible and easy to read. Residential addresses are easily visible on a majority of homes in Stagecoach. The clear and visible signage throughout the community will assist fire suppression personnel in locating residences during poor visibility conditions that may exist during a wildland fire.
Utilities: The utilities that serve Stagecoach are mostly above ground power lines and above ground propane tanks. In general, utility right-of-ways have been adequately maintained and pose only a low ignition risk to the community.
A majority of the homes observed in the interface area were built with fire resistant siding materials. Nearly all homes had fire resistant roof materials such as composition shingles, metal, or tile roofing. About one-quarter of the homes observed had unenclosed balconies, porches, decks or other architectural features that can create drafty areas where sparks and embers can be trapped, smolder, and ignite, rapidly spreading fire to the home.
The vast majority of the homes had landscaping that would meet the defensible space landscape requirement to protect the home from damage or minimize loss during a wildfire.
The location of the fire station in Stagecoach is shown in Figure 14-1. Wildfire protection is provided by the Central Lyon County Fire Protection District. Refer to Section 4.2 for more information on equipment and resources available.
Water availability for fire suppression in Stagecoach includes:
The community water system operates on gravity and electric pumps. In case of power outage there is a diesel generator for back up.
Stagecoach lies on an alluvial fan south of the Virginia Range foothills. The terrain is generally flat with slopes less than five percent. The dominant aspects in the community are west, south, and southwest. The predominant wind directions are from the west and southwest.
The vegetation in the interface areas around Stagecoach was characterized as salt desert shrub. The shrub layer was dominated by greasewood and Nevada dalea. The ground fuels consisted of Indian ricegrass, cheatgrass, and Russian thistle. The shrubs were widely spaced and less than two feet tall. The fuel load was estimated at less than one-half ton per acre and was considered a low fuel hazard.
The worst-case fire behavior scenario would likely occur on a high hazard day, during the summer months of a normal to above normal precipitation year with high cheatgrass production. A lightning-caused fire ignition northwest or southwest of the community in conjunction with erratic 20 to 30 mile per hour winds, often associated with thunderstorms in the area, could cause a fire to spread into the community. Flame lengths of a wind-driven fire in this fuel type could reach four to six feet in length spreading fire at an estimated rate of 1,320 to 1,980 feet per hour.
Stagecoach has a low potential for fire ignitions. The low fuel hazard in the area as well as the location of the dry lakebed south of town, reduce the likelihood of the worst-case scenario occurring.
The responsibility to keep a community fire safe falls not only on the local fire protection district but also on the residents of the community, businesses, and local governments. The recommendations for Stagecoach focus primarily on additional efforts that can be taken by community members and public agencies to increase wildfire safety through reduction of hazardous fuels. Other recommendations pertain to community coordination and public education efforts that could be undertaken to enhance fire safety in Stagecoach. The recommendations are detailed below and summarized in Table 14-1.
The density and type of fuel around a home affects the potential fire exposure levels to the home. The goals of defensible space are to reduce the chances of a wildfire spreading onto adjacent property and igniting homes, and to reduce the risk of property loss from wildfire. General guidelines for creating defensible space around residences and structures in the community are given below and are described in detail in Appendix E.
The following recommendations should be implemented to aid fire suppression activities within the wildland-urban interface.
Coordination among local, state, and federal fire suppression agencies is important in the day-to-day fire prevention activities and becomes critical in the event of a wildland fire. During a fire event, firefighters from other communities and states may be dispatched to protect areas they have never been before. This is particularly true in areas that have limited fire suppression resources and will most likely depend on outside assistance in the event of a catastrophic wildland fire. The following are recommendations should be implemented in Stagecoach to promote interagency and community coordination.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
1187 Charles Drive
Reno, Nevada 89509
Increased public education on fire safety is critical in communities that have rapidly growing populations, especially when many of the areas being developed are larger lots intermixed with wildland fuels. People moving into the area may be unfamiliar with fire-prone environments.
|Responsible Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Property Owners||Defensible Space Treatments||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the guidelines in Appendix E.
Maintain defensible space as needed to keep the space lean, clean, and green.
|Community Coordination||Form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
Improve address visibility.
|Central Lyon County Fire Protection District||Fuel Reduction Treatments||Remove or mow vegetation within ten feet of all fire hydrants to improve visibility and access to fire suppression personnel.|
|Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication Living with Fire to all property owners.
Enforce or develop county laws and ordinances for defensible space and fuel reduction responsibilities for absentee owners and vacant lots.
Contact Nevada Cooperative Extension and the BLM for assistance with public education.
Fire History and Suppression Resources for the Community of Stagecoach
Stagecoach Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary